Bosnia Herzegovina Overview
|Bosna i Hercegovina
||Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian
|Form of government
||UTC +1 (CET)
|Telephone area code
The former republic of Yugoslavia (independent since
1992) is located in southeastern Europe in the northwest
of the Balkan Peninsula and includes the two historical
landscapes of Bosnia (after the Bosna River) in the
north and Herzegovina (Duchy) in the south. The country
borders Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the southeast
, Croatia to the west and north . In the southwest,
Bosnia-Herzegovina has narrow access to the
Mediterranean (20 km coastline). The national area
covers 51.129 km².
The country is mostly mountainous, especially the
west is occupied by the Dinaric Mountains, which extend
from north to west. The Bosnian Ore Mountains are
located in the center of Bosnia. The highest elevation
in the country is the Maglic on the border with
neighboring Yugoslavia (2,386 m). The mountains consist
mainly of limestone. Due to the high water solubility of
this rock, large parts are karstified; typical of this
are underground cave systems in which the seeping water
Lowlands can only be found along the existing rivers,
almost all of which flow into the Sava. These include,
for example, Bosna, Drina, Una and Vrbas. The Sava forms
the northern border with Croatia and flows into the
Danube near Belgrade (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).
The Neretva flows into the Adriatic Sea.
The capital Sarajevo , founded in the 13th century,
is centrally located inland.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a predominantly
continental climate with hot summers and cold winters.
In the capital Sarajevo, the average January
temperatures are around -1.5 กใ C, the average July
values are around 20 กใ C. The summer temperatures are
lower in the mountains, the winters are longer and
colder. Mediterranean influences are increasing in the
southern part of the country. In Mostar in the southwest
of the country, the January average is around 5 กใ C, in
July an average of 26 กใ C has been reached.
Precipitation amounts are between 900 mm and 1 500 mm.
In the south, precipitation falls mainly in the winter
Flora and fauna
Almost half of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested.
Deciduous and mixed forests can be found in the lower
regions, which merge into coniferous forests in the
higher regions of the mountains. The Sutjeska National
Park contains stocks of the untouched and protected
Perucica jungle. Here beeches, firs and spruces reach
heights of up to 60 m.
In the remote forest areas, rare animal species such
as wolf, brown bear, ibex, wildcat and golden eagle can
still find a suitable habitat in Europe. Wild boar,
deer, foxes and deer are common. There are also many
types of reptiles, including numerous snake species such
as the Aesculapian and Leopard Snakes, as well as the
venomous snakes, cross and sand otters.
About 4.6 million people live in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, but estimates have only been available for
several years. At the beginning of the 21st century, the
population was several hundred thousand lower, and many
refugees have returned. The civil war that broke out
after independence in 1992 likely killed more than
300,000 people, and the number of those who fled abroad
is estimated at just under a million.
The civil war has also changed the composition and
distribution of the population. There are essentially
three ethnic groups: Muslim Bosnians (who call
themselves "Bosniaks" and make up almost half of the
population, around 4% more than in 1991), Serbs who
profess the Serbian Orthodox Church (their share of 31%
in 1991 to 37% today), and Catholic Croatians. All three
languages of the ethnic groups are official languages.
While the vocabulary and pronunciation hardly differ,
Serbian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, Croatian and Bosnian
the Latin alphabet.
According to COUNTRYAAH,
the average population density is 78 people per
square kilometer. The proportion of the urban population
is about 42%. Around 500,000 people live in the
agglomeration of the capitalSarajevo. Other major cities
are Banja Luka (225,000 residents in the agglomeration),
Tuzla (around 130,000), Zenica (around 128,000) and
Mostar (around 112,000).
Population growth is estimated at 0.7%. The average
life expectancy for men is 75 years, for women 82 years.
School attendance is free of charge, children are
required to attend school between seven and 15 years.
Approx. 97% of the population can read and write.
Since independence in 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina
has been a republic consisting of two autonomous states:
the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serbian
Republic (Republika Srpska). According to the
constitution (December 1995) set out in the Dayton Peace
Treaty, the country's government as a whole should
reflect the ethnic composition of the population and be
responsible for foreign trade, monetary policy,
migration, telecommunications, border and airspace
protection. The country is overseen by a high
representative of the international community (Valentin
Inzko, since 2009), which limits sovereignty.
The state is led by a three-member presidium, which
consists of a Croat, a Serb and a Muslim (Bosniak), who
alternate in the presidency after eight months. The
three members of the Presidium are elected directly
every four years (currently Bakir Izetbegović, Nebojša
Radmanović, Željko Komšić). The head of government
(state prime minister) has been Vjekoslav Bevanda
(Croat) since 2012.
The legislature lies with the bicameral parliament (Skupstina).
The 42 members of the House of Representatives are
directly elected by the people for four years (28
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14 Serbian
Republic). The members of the Chamber of Peoples are
elected by the parliaments of the member states (ten
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, five Serbian
Each of the two states has its own government and
parliament. In the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the
parliament consists of two chambers (Chamber of Deputies
/ 98 seats and Chamber of Nations / 58 seats). Likewise
in the Serbian Republic: National Assembly / 83 seats
and Council of Peoples / 28 seats. The respective
president is elected by the parliament.
The country was initially able to recover
significantly from the destruction caused by the civil
war, but was severely affected by the crisis in the euro
zone. The unemployment rate is still very high
(officially 44%); average wages are still at the lower
end in a European comparison. However, illicit trade is
flourishing, with over half of the unemployed illegally
making a living. Bosnia-Herzegovina is highly dependent
on international financial and economic aid.
Almost 13% of the land area is used as usable space.
The main cultivation areas (for fruit, tobacco, corn,
potatoes, wheat, sugar beet, wine) are the lowlands
along the rivers. Food must be imported. Livestock
farming is of importance, cattle and sheep farming
In industry there are companies in the light, steel,
chemical and armaments industries, as well as ironworks.
Iron ores, charcoal, textiles and minerals are exported.
Mineral resources include lignite, iron ore, bauxite,
copper, manganese, zinc and gold. The country's energy
requirements can be partly met by hydropower plants.
Croatia, Italy and Germany are the most important
trading partners for exports, and Croatia, Germany and
Russia for imports - especially oil, food and chemical
The existing infrastructure was badly affected by the
civil war. Modernization measures are necessary for the
railways. In the expansion of the road network, the
construction of a north-south motorway was declared a
priority. International airports are located in
Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Tuzla.
Currency is the convertible mark (= 100 fening).